Poems by Eleanor Perry and Mark Holihan in response to ‘Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning’

November 1st, 2012 § 0 comments

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‘The Wisdom of Hens’ by Eleanor Perry was written is response to the story ‘Samantha and the Cockerel’ from Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning by Maggie Harris. It was read at one of 7 Tales, 7 poems, 7 Days and Nights events during the Canterbury Festival 2012. You can download  Eleanor Perry The Wisdom of Hens as a pdf.

‘Things you can keep’ by Mark Holihan  was written is response to the story ‘Doing it like Jamie Oliver’ from Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning by Maggie Harris. It was read at one of 7 Tales, 7 poems, 7 Days and Nights events during the Canterbury Festival 2012. You can read the poem below, or download Mark Holihan Things you can keep as a pdf

Things you can keep 

It’s the small things you can keep:

a piece of soapstone carved like a peaceful mountain,

a jade rooster, a tiny dish of a thousand faces

– articles of loss from your mother’s home.

A sandalwood dragon-boat from your father,

old photos of places only half known in the bottom of a drawer.

These things are pieces of memories from a place where your

face and voice aren’t foreign.

But even there you would be alien.

You are the stranger on all sides.

Your friend is the seawater that caresses the

rough edges off all of the continents.

 

Your wife complains that she can only speak her mother’s

language like a child, and her child

doesn’t know it at all, would rather you

kept quiet in public.

And it has been a long time since you gave

a true opinion to a friend, wasn’t confused by a country that

holds not only your past, but the bones of your grandparents,

the very earth is ground from your aunties and uncles.

The faces smiling in those photos are the soil under new

highways, shopping malls, cities that are

stranger to you than this island with it’s seas washing away at

stony beaches you can walk, or perhaps call home.

 

Today you found a dead butterfly on the windowsill,

more fragile than paper or old silk,

too perfect to ignore so

you lift it with a piece of paper and a feather,

slide it in where those few small things are kept –

the a glass fronted cabinet in the corner.

For a moment you were afraid to open it

as though it held the very air of the past that will dissipate

with the smell of jasmine and sandalwood.

A block of Kwan Yin’s breath incense, still sits undisturbed

in a teakwood box where your mother put it.

That’s where this small, bright English butterfly comes to rest.

 

Mark Holihan

 

 

 

 

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